Inside Asian Gaming

APR 2019 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING 23 Destination: Primorsky “We are the closest European style city in Asia. Around that, we have many other options,” Primorsky Province Tourism Department Director Konstantin Shestakov says of Vladivostok, Primorsky’s capital withapopulationof 600,000. Russian officials right up to President Vladimir Putin have been working for nearly a decade to put Primorsky on the tourism map. Until 1992, Vladivostok was a closed city due to its strategic role as the home of the Soviet Pacific fleet. Its international coming out party, the 2012 APEC Summit, included US$20 billion in infrastructure improvements, from a new airport terminal and runway improvements to a new campus for Far Eastern Federal University – the APEC venue and now home to the annual Eastern Economic Forum that brings together top officials fromRussia, Japan, South Korea andMongolia – all connected with iconic cable- stayed bridges, one of them the world’s longest. Formed around vast Golden Horn Bay with steep hills, Vladivostok evokes comparisons with San Francisco. Vladivostok has a branch of Saint Petersburg’s renowned Mariinsky Theatre, playing its sixth season in a state of the art opera house built for it. Rural Primorsky is home to Siberian tigers, leopards, bears and marine mammals from walruses to whales. Exceptional seafood heads the menu of what’s an emerging foodie destination. Those attractions were enough to lure 780,000 visitors in 2018. The only Asia-focused area among Russia’s four zones for legal gambling opened after the 2009 shutdown of the nation’s casinos, Primorsky Krai (a Russian term for border region) Integrated Entertainment Zone measures 619 hectares (1,530 acres). About 40% of the zone has been offered for development so far. “The area has beautiful lakes, hiking trails, skiing, ice skating, hunting and numerous outdoor attractions that An artist’s impression of NagaCorp’s Primorye IR, designed by Steelman Partners